30 Mar 2016

Wages eclipsed by high cost of living in Vanuatu

8:13 pm on 30 March 2016

The haphazard way minimum wage increases are implemented in the country needs to change, says the general secretary of the Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions, Ephraim Kalsakau.

Last week a paper was prepared for the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council proposing that the minimum wage be increased. It has now been put out for consultation.

Last year all stakeholders agreed that an increase would not be appropriate after Cyclone Pam.

Ephraim Kalsakau said there had not been an increase now since 2013 and it was taking a toll on workers.

"When that doesn't happen for three or four years that's something that affects workers, the minimum wage should reflect what's happening on the ground. There's an increase in the cost of living, there's an increase in inflation rates."

Ephraim Kalsakau said in the past politicians had typically increased the minimum wage prior to an election.

In 2012 the Council resolved that minimum wages be reviewed at least every two years, with proposals based on economic, not political factors.

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